Mentor Texts for Writing

How do you use mentor texts?

There are so many options for mentor texts in both reading and writing.  A search at Two Writing Teachers gives you all of these posts to consider.  You can also check out Rose and Lynne’s website here with many ideas from their two Mentor Text books.

At the 88th Saturday Reunion, Carl Anderson (@conferringcarl) began with a story about coaching his son’s baseball team for six years and yet still needing a mentor.  He went on to explain that mentors could be found in Greek mythology and as a friend of Odysseus and adviser of Telemachus actually in the “Odyssey”.  A mentor was a “wise and sage co-teacher” – who wouldn’t want one for life?

Ralph Fletcher explains that mentor texts are, “…any texts that you can learn from, and every writer, no matter how skilled you are or how beginning you are, encounters and reads something that can lift and inform and infuse their own writing. I’d say anything that you can learn from – not by talking about but just looking at the actual writing itself, being used in really skillful, powerful way.”

One role of a mentor text according to Carl Anderson is:

pull back curtain

How can a mentor text help you “pull back the curtain” and reveal the craft in the writing?

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7 responses

  1. Congratulations, Fran! These quotes are terrific reminders of the importance of mentor texts. I especially love this from Ralph Fletcher: “…no matter how skilled you are or how beginning you are, encounters and reads something that can lift and inform and infuse their own writing.” Thanks for sharing them today.

    1. Thanks, Catherine!
      Reworking a PD session – focus on “how to teach the writer”
      You are quite welcome!

  2. We are about to start a nonfiction/research unit on Earth and Space and I am trying to gather picture book mentor texts that are great models for them.

    1. Carl said to immerse kids for a couple of days. Let them record what’s good and why! (Students doing the work! Wonderful idea!)

  3. Too often teachers have the idea of one and done if they use a mentor text. Immersion is key, especially letting the kids notice rather than tell them what to notice. Such important information! Thanks Fran!

    1. Such a good point. I have to re-teach this point because, in the old, old days, I used mentor texts as the activity for the day – not to teach the craft. It was all me telling- – – love the feel of inquiry when students are in search of the craft moves after quality instruction!

      You are so welcome!

  4. […] I’ve written about mentor texts here, here, here, here, and […]

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